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The Importance of Running on Supported IBM Hardware and Operating Systems

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

We’ve all got day jobs, and with those day jobs come priorities. Some tasks have to be completed that day, others you can leave until tomorrow, next week, or even next month, while other tasks end up falling off the bottom of a to-do list. If anything interrupts your day or impacts your ability to perform your role, it’s more like to get done – it’s human nature. Where does ensuring your business remains on supported hardware and operating sit on your list of priorities? Most IBM i shops now have multiple partitions, some have tens or even hundreds, and so both operating systems upgrades and Power System refreshes can be major exercises, often involving downtime and buy-in from the business. IBM does offer extended support, which in essence is standard support, but at a premium price.


To learn more about the supported status of both the IBM i operating system and Power Systems hardware:

https://www.maxava.com/ibmi-supported-releases


The pitfalls of delaying hardware and software upgrades shouldn’t be underestimated.



Support

Out-of-support hardware while still likely to be operating sufficiently well will start to be a cause for concern as parts will become harder to source and are less likely to be readily available. This could cause delays, and in extreme circumstances could lead to extended outages. In addition, it may be necessary to source parts via the second user market.

While many applications will run on older operating systems indefinitely the challenge comes should you require a fix. Typically, if an existing fix is available to resolve your issue it can be applied without concern. Trouble can arise if you encounter an issue that hasn’t previously surfaced as it tends to be standard practice to not code new PTFs if you’re on an unsupported release. Instead, customers are encouraged to upgrade.


Security

Vulnerabilities are being discovered all the time and many of which will be exploited by unscrupulous individuals. Ensuring that you are on a supported release will mean that fixes will be made available to close such vulnerabilities. On an unsupported release, these will remain vulnerabilities, exposing the business to threats.

An example of this is CVE-2021-4104 (log4j) which was detected in the heritage version of IBM Navigator for i but not addressed. Instead, customers are directed to and encouraged to use the new IBM Navigator for i and to cease using the older heritage version. Exploited vulnerabilities could harm business now and result in unfavorable press.


Staff Retention

Failure to keep up with the latest technology will, over time result in ambitious staff leaving the company to ensure they keep their skills and experience current. Personnel who are content with working on out-of-date software and hardware will see a gradual decline in demand for their skills in the market.


Features

New hardware generations see improved performance capabilities versus price coupled with smaller, more energy-efficient footprints. They are also capable of taking advantage of emerging technologies such as support NVMe devices which alone provide increased performance.

With IBM i running on Power Systems, each version and release provides a huge number of features. In addition, with Technology Refreshes many features now get introduced this way.


Legal

For some, it is a legal requirement for the business to be using applications that reside on supported hardware and operating system versions. Failure to conform is likely to surface in an audit and result in a fine of sorts.


How Can Maxava Help?

Maxava can help IBM i customers migrate to new hardware or to later releases of the operating system without downtime while maintaining data integrity. Risk to the business can be reduced by utilizing Maxava’s proven replication technologies to copy data to new hardware while keeping synchronized in real-time allowing the data to be fully verified and audited.


For more about Maxava’s Migrate Live™

https://www.maxava.com/migrate-live

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